Coronavirus in Louisiana: $500K made available to determine causes, solutions to racial health disparities

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — During Gov. John Bel Edwards Friday update briefing, he announced that $500,000 is being made available for the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. The funds are coming from the Governor’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

These funds are being made available for the task force to examine the causes and possible solutions to the high rate of deaths from the coronavirus within Louisiana’s African-American community and other impacted populations.

According to a press release from the Governor’s Office, the funding will be used for the following:

  • Science-based research
  • A comprehensive evidenced-based analysis of the determinants of health equity that influences racial health disparities
  • Evidenced-based analysis of interventions that positively impact health equity and address disparities.  
  • An examination of the population dynamics (political, economic, social, technological, and legal) that are indicative of health equity and disparities to formulate a state wide dashboard.
  • Provide health awareness educational media campaigns.
  • Assessments of the status of the state’s response as it affects vulnerable populations and the impact of COVID-19.

“The disparity in deaths is especially worrisome, and we need to do everything we can to determine why this is happening. African-Americans make up approximately 33 percent of our population yet account for nearly 60 percent of the deaths from this virus. We have an obligation to look for answers and this task force will provide recommendations for addressing the health inequities affecting all communities that are most impacted by this virus.  Funding is essential for that work to begin as soon as possible. One death is one too many in any community, and I am committed to helping everyone in our state live healthier lives.”    

Gov. John Bel Edwards

The Governor’s COVID-19 Response Fund is funded through the Irene W & C.B. Pennington Family Foundation, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation.

On Friday, Louisiana reported 401 new cases and 61 new deaths.

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